Ceebee previews the 2m4f Novice Handicap Chase at Punchestown and has bets advised on Shanahans Turn, Blood Cotil and Mister Hotelier.
16.20 2m4f Novice Handicap Chase
Shanahans Turn is an interesting one here. He’s been freshened up after running below par at Leopardstown in February. If we can forgive that outing he remains very unexposed and yet to show his full potential. He has a tremendous course record and the trip and ground will pose no issue either.
As a weak looking horse he did enough over hurdles to suggest he had a big future ahead of him. Winning his maiden hurdle at Leopardstown before finishing mid-division beaten 16L behind Faugheen at Cheltenham and similarly 10L behind Beat That and Don Poli here. On both occasions he travelled very well but his finishing effort was weak. When he made his chasing debut, also here, he defeated Wounded Warrior and Dromnea easily. It was a performance that suggested he’d done some much required growing up and it marked him down as a potential RSA horse in my book. He went in again here in November this time in a fairly poor G2 event but he done it easily. He was below his best in very good company over Christmas. 3miles on bad ground was not ideal. Because he hasn’t shown his best since his first two starts over fences he has received a mark of 143 which is lenient enough considering the ability he showed both over hurdles and on his two chase victories here. If Henry has got him back he’ll take beating with trip, track and ground ideal.
Sticking with the theme of the week, Willie Mullins second strings - Blood Cotil got a quiet ‘never nearer’ ride behind Fine Rightly and Sizing Granite at Naas. He then went back to Naas and won easily in a much weaker beginners chase. His early season form behind Gilgamboa and Wounded Warrior has looked smart all season. Both those are rated 9lb and 12lb higher than Blood Cotil’s current mark. He can definitely win off 141. In Cheltenham he made an awful mistake at the 3rd and another few mistakes down the back. The frenetic pace of the Grand Annual was too much for this inexperienced novice. Just put a line through the run. The step up in trip should be ok, he has won over 2m3f before, and the small bit of juice in the ground will also be ok with him. He’s still only on a par with his hurdles rating (which included a G1 2nd here) so isn’t in the grips of the handicapper yet.
Mister Hotelier seems to need/enjoy good ground so you can confidently put a mark through his last two efforts. Prior to that he won on his handicap chase debut but that race hasn’t worked out well enough to suggest he could go in again off 8lb higher without plenty of improvement. I was tempted to put a line through him but the quotes of 33/1 are just too big so he’s worth a small play. He’s an unexposed handicap chaser who’ll enjoy conditions.
Amazingly Road to Riches was beaten off 145 in this last season!! Here’s some of those that’ll be beaten today…
Followmeuptocarlow was 4th last year, he comes here off a mark 7lbs higher and in worse form. Thomas Crapper brings the Cheltenham Novice Handicap form to the table here (8lbs higher now) but since then he was beaten at Ascot. It was in the final stride and the winner, Puffin Billy, went in again up at Ayr but there must be a worry that’s now 7 chases (busy season) without getting his head in front. Dromnea looks on a fairly stiff mark for all that he has achieved. Doing Fine takes a big step back in trip which on what we’ve seen so far may be a little sharp for him on this good spring ground. Silver Tassie’s chances have improved with the rain staying away but he’s well out of form lately. Azorian is a very inconsistent sort who was poor last time and poor on his two trips to Punchestown previously. Tennis Cap is having his 3rd chase start after missing 2yrs through injury. Unexposed over fences but on a tough enough mark based on his very best hurdles form. His beginners chase win came against some very average horses. Fine Rightly bumped into the smart Sizing Granite (dual winner incl Aintree G1) at Naas before winning twice at Ayr and Naas. Both were small fields with questionable strength and depth. A much tougher ask here off 144. Clearly in great form and 2m5f on soft will be ideal but I wonder if he’s good enough for his mark. Val de Ferbet concedes weight all around but based on his defeat of Noble Emperor at Fairyhouse and Rule the World at Limerick he deserves his mark. Stamina looks to be his main strength so back over 2m5f on good ground isn’t a positive for me. Mr Fiftyone was beaten in a similar event at Fairyhouse 26days ago. The one who beat him, Ballyadam Approach, won very impressively here on Wednesday off a 6lb higher mark. Mr Fiftyone also went up 6lbs so should be capable of getting involved off his new mark. This is a step up in trip for Mr Fiftyone but twice before he’s tried a similar trip so connections obviously believe he’ll be suited by it. The Harrington yard have won this race the last two years in a row. Plenty of positives but the market is awake to his chances. He’s plenty short at 6/1 especially with the question marks over his stamina. Wuff is a late starter over fences, making his debut after a year off in Fberuary. He was beaten just 2L in a novice handicap chase at Haydock (4th home has won since). He then ran in a similar event at Newbury and again was beaten 2L, this time by the potentially very well handicapped The Skyfarmer. Tom George had a very successful raid to Punchestown 12mts ago taking home two big prices with Gods Own and Chartreux. He’ll need to improve.